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Norms For Holding Effective And Fruitful Scrum Meetings

By Expert Author: Mrugesh Panchal

Many types of meetings are held while scrum is implanted in a project. Right from sprint planning meeting to the sprint review and the sprint retrospective, other non-conventional meetings can also be arranged in scrum as and when needed to fulfill specific objectives. Following certain norms can help to effective and fruitful meetings.

Scheduling the meeting
The best way to schedule a meeting is to consider all the information that needs to be conveyed during the meeting, and assign a proper time and duration for it. Do not try to cram in too many topics so that enough time is not allotted for discussing each topic during the meeting. Ideally, the meeting should last for approximately 30 minutes, so work out an agenda that fits into the time schedule. If the topics to be discussed are more, hold a separate meeting to discuss them. This is very important, since the team members need time to absorb the discussion, and remain perceptive to the plan of action decided for each topic in the agenda at the end of the meeting.

The time to hold the meeting should be properly selected too. Choose the time, which is most convenient to all. Ideally, the meeting should be held around 9 AM when everyone is fresh and about to start their day, or if that is not possible, than around 3 PM when everyone has taken the lunch and people are not feeling groggy immediately after having it.

Members attending the meeting
Work out the list of attendees who are going to remain present for the meeting. It is mandatory for the product owner and the scrum master to attend the meeting since they play a center role in scrum implementation. Invite only those members who are associated with the topics included in the agenda, and who need to carry out some plan of action based upon the discussions carried out during the meeting. Other members, who are not concerned, or who have no connection with the agenda topics should not be invited so the meeting place is not cluttered up with too many individuals. When the members are less, it becomes possible to have one-to-one discussion, which is more meaningful and effective.

Creating and distributing the agenda
Make sure that a proper agenda is created that includes all-important topics. Once the agenda is prepared, send it, or distribute to the concerned individuals well in time so they have enough time to prepare for the meeting. Each attendee should prepare a list of queries or issues concerning his or her work, and present it to the audience during the meeting. If the participants are well prepared, it leads to more fruitful and productive meetings.

Conducting the meeting in the proper manner
Start your meeting on time. It is advisable not to wait for participants if they do not make it on time. It is essential to convey a message that the purpose and intent of the meeting is important, and should not be trifled with. The meeting should also not be taken lightly by the attendees. Some organizations even levy a certain penalty if the participants do not show up on time.

Another aspect is regarding the discussions to be carried out during the meeting they should be focused and topic centric. Make sure, only those topics relevant to the agenda are discussed, and the meeting is not emphasized with other trivial or non-related discussions. Utilize the meeting time in a productive way.

Appoint one person specially for taking down the minutes of the meeting. This turns out to be very valuable when the participants require to recollect what was discussed during the meeting at a later stage. Many a times, people remember the plan of action immediately after the meeting is completed, but tend to forget, or may get confused in the succeeding days. The minutes can help to freshen up their memory.

Work out the possible call-to-actions for each topic or subject included in the agenda. The minutes of the meeting should reflect which person is responsible for doing a particular action based upon the topics in the agenda.

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